Advanced Seminar with Anindita Banerjee

Saturday, February 8th, 5:15pm-7:00pm
"Russian Science Fiction on the Edges of the World"

Putting pressure on the East/West geographies and capitalist/socialist binaries in which Russian science fiction is usually examined in comparative contexts, this seminar explores its other worldly edges--interfaces of contact, contamination, and circulation with and amongst the various Others of both capitalist and socialist modernity. The purpose of this worlding, however, is not merely archival: at a moment when more than ever it seems that "it is easier to imagine the extinction of humanity than the end of capital" as Fredric Jameson famously said, the ethics and politics of such imagined futures become particularly urgent objects of study.

The seminar will start with an on-site reading and discussion of an excerpt from the introduction to Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East, edited by Anindita Banerjee and Sonja Fritzsche (2018). It will be followed by a collaborative engagement with one literary and one cinematic text related to the topic. All texts will be available in advance as well as on site at the seminar.

Anindita Banerjee is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, an advisory member of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, and chair of the environmental humanities concentration at Cornell University. Her research focuses on science fiction and technocultural studies, environmental humanities, media studies, and migration studies in Russia and Eurasia in active dialog with the Indian subcontinent and Latin America. Banerjee is the author of We Modern People: Science Fiction and the Making of Russian Modernity (Wesleyan University Press, 2013), which won the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Book Prize from the University of California. She is the editor of three other books: Russian Science Fiction Literature and Cinema: A Critical Reader (Academic Studies Press, 2018); Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East (Oxford Peter Lang, 2018); and South of the Future: Speculative Biotechnologies and Care Markets in South Asia and Latin America (forthcoming from SUNY Press). She has co-edited a Slavic Review special issue on “Russian Geopoetics” (summer 2016) and a Slavic and East European Journal special issue on “World Revolution” (fall 2017). Banerjee is a founding co-editor of the book series Studies in Global Science Fiction at Palgrave Macmillan, an editor of the journal Science Fiction Film and Television at Liverpool University Press, and a member of the editorial board of Science Fiction Studies.